Using Multi-criteria Analysis For Undertaking Vulnerability Assessments Of Flood Susceptible Communities
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This paper presents a methodology for assessing the vulnerability of communities, specifically as it relates to flooding using multi-criteria analysis and a risk management approach. Risk is assessed as a combination of threat (expressed as the probability that a given flood will occur); vulnerability (expressed as the probability that a given vulnerability will succeed, given that the flood will occur), and consequence (expressed as some measure of loss, such as dollar cost, resources loss, programmatic impact, etc.). Many factors contribute to a communities’ vulnerability with respect to flooding. These include its population, built environment, and wealth, which are increasingly concentrated in a small number of highly vulnerable areas that are susceptible to flooding. The total risk is assessed as a combination of the risks associated with a specific flooding scenario and its impact on a susceptible community. Risk is reduced by countermeasures. However, the cost of countermeasures (relative to the potential risks) is applied when arriving at an all encompassing risk management strategy. The ongoing phenomenon of climate change is altering our capacity to effectively manage the risks associated with flooding. Moreover, it is affecting North America in particularly distinct ways. In the past 10 years, Canada in particular has faced the greatest increases in average annual temperatures of any country, and a commensurate rise in severe weather-related natural disasters has been observed across North America. Associated with these shifts has been an increased occurrence of flooding, further exacerbating the situation and making communities more vulnerable to its effects. Keywords: flooding, risk management, vulnerability and coping capacity.
flooding, risk management, vulnerability and coping capacity